José Aguilar
Director General
C&C Technologies Geomar
/
Insight

Technological Advancements Grow AUV Market Potential

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 14:06

Technology development is directly related to access to one particular asset. In fact, the importance of this one asset becomes clearer by the day for the entire oil and gas industry in these times of price volatility: information. Some of this information pertains to the very  specific physical characteristics of oil and gas sites, which is why state-of-the-art surveying and mapping services play such an important role in achieving success in the Mexican oil and gas industry. C&C Technologies, an international company headquartered in Louisiana that specializes in surveying and mapping services, has been one of the most important providers of this kind of information in Mexico through the work of its offices in important industry hubs such as Ciudad del Carmen, Villahermosa and Mexico City. José Aguilar, Director General of the company’s Mexico subsidiary, remarks upon the indispensable nature of the services it provides from the company’s busy Ciudad del Carmen office. “For any project to be developed, our services are required beforehand. Whether it is exploration, construction or platform transportation, our services are needed. I cannot even grasp any aspect of marine construction in which surveying services are not required; it is something practically inherent.”

Despite the currently uncertain nature of the market for oil and gas projects, the growth of C&C Technologies’ offshore activities in the Campeche Basin has been significant. As Aguilar puts it, “we have been growing a lot in the Ciudad del Carmen region. Last year, we used to have four to five crews working on different vessels but we are now up to anywhere from seven to eight. It would not surprise us to be called for additional projects.” Of course, this is not to suggest that C&C Technologies has been unaffected by the deceleration of the oil and gas sector. Aguilar also admits that a lot of this offshore growth is happening thanks to activities external to the oil and gas industry: “We are now also working closely with the Ministry of Communication and Transportation, the Navy, and other entities that exist independently from the oil and gas sector. We are also working on underwater pipelines for CFE and we are very happy to be receiving interest from clients that are not only related to the oil and gas industry.” Aguilar feels that this diversification is proof of the overall upward curve and general vitality of the Mexican economy. “We feel that this is a sign of the Mexican economy’s awakening.” 

When it comes to offshore surveying work, C&C Technologies has invested plenty of resources to become the first commercial provider of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) and Aguilar is quick to underline the importance of this technology in the company’s growth strategy. “We are putting most of our bets on AUVs survey services to the offshore oil and gas industry. C&C Technologies continues to advance AUV technology with the introduction of the C-Surveyor VI, which incorporates an innovative new payload delivering rapid, cost-effective, and detailed inspections of pipelines, cables, and other subsea infrastructure. In addition to a side scan sonar, multibeam echosounder, and sub-bottom profiler, the C-Surveyor VI is integrated with a 3-D bathymetric laser, a camera photo mosaic system, a hydrocarbon detector, and a magnetometer. The C-Surveyor VI captures three- dimensional “point cloud” renderings at five-millimeter resolution of pipelines, subsea infrastructure, and surrounding geomorphology. Combined with high- resolution photo mosaics, this innovative capability is used to inspect and document the survey life-cycles of pipelines and peripheral seafloor assets,” says Aguilar. “AUVs represent some of the most versatile, sophisticated and cost-effective offshore technology in the market.” In collaboration with its sister company, Autonomous Surface Vehicles, Ltd., C&C Technologies provides Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) services to address a variety of marine applications worldwide. “The C-Worker, an oilfield services ASV of the size of a car, will revolutionize unmanned oil and gas operations. It has an operating autonomy of 30 days at an average speed of four knots, houses fully redundant power propulsion and communication system, and can be operated from my office without a problem. It is designed to conduct subsea positioning, surveying and environmental monitoring without the need of a ship on station or sea-bed anchoring. If companies are looking for a DP (dynamic positioning) vessel, this is a great alternative in terms of costs, since a DP tends to cost 20 times more than a drone,” explains Aguilar.

Through its focus on technological development, C&C Technologies has managed to become a market leader in the supply of surveying and mapping services in Mexico. As Aguilar puts it, “not only is C&C Technologies important to Mexico’s future but it is also Mexico that stands out within the company’s international technology portfolio. We would like to grow our market share and we would also like to continue to be able to respond immediately to our clients’ requests. We have plenty of new developments underway in Mexico, since companies in this country will require our exclusive technological solutions.”